Category: Gaming

Football Manager Beta #2: The Cult of Eddie Howe

Football Manager Beta #2: The Cult of Eddie Howe

Football Manager 2017: Bournemouth Episode Two

One challenge of managing Bournemouth is replacing a manager that’s actually pretty bloody good.

For those who don’t know, Eddie Howe took over a club from the brink of relegation from the Football League (to what is now the called Vanarama National League and presumably chaired by the bloke with the deep voice from the advert).

Despite a 17-point deduction he saved them from their Vanarama fate and brought them up through the leagues and all the way to the top. He even managed to keep them in the Premier League with much of the same squad, and all while playing some ballsy attacking football.

It was fair to say the fans weren’t happy hiring a man with only Sunday League playing experience, no coaching badges and a solitary runners-up trophy from his days playing on the wing at Shoreditch under-12s to replace him.

Sunday League trophy

It will be a tall ask, but Henry needs to make the supporters forget about Howe – the equivalent of the handsome boyfriend that left to do missionary work in Africa – and fall in love with McHipster – the man who plays Football Manager in his room but has some fetching scarves and a half-decent vinyl collection.

First he had to get to grips with the team. Apparently the boys are well-equipped for possession football – which is handy as it’s one of the aims the board has set. It also said there is great depth in the squad with four right-backs, which is useful if for some reason we end up playing four right-backs…

One concern is there is apparently a ‘lack of leadership’ among the boys. While Henry got a Silver Duke of Edinburgh award, it may be an area that needs addressing when we dip our toes into the transfer market.

Football Manager team report

Overall though, the squad looks in pretty decent shape, so I decided to take a look at the staff Henry would be working with. One name that immediately jumped out was ‘Andy Howe’, who was indeed listed as a ‘relative’ to dear Eddie. A bit of digging and I found out he was in fact Eddie Howe’s nephew who had been working with his uncle since he was 15 and followed him around ever since. Employing family members with no coaching experience seemed a bit dodgy – perhaps Howe really would be perfect for England.

If I was to establish Henry as a South Coast kingpin, we couldn’t have family members hanging around the club. I’ve seen Game of Thrones and I know how these things go down. Andy was gone.

Football Manager Andy Howe

Having sifted through the coaches and physios I decided a few peoples’ stats weren’t up to scratch and terminated their contracts (sorry Ben Donachie, but your kids aren’t getting iPads for Christmas). There was a female head-physio called Victoria McIntyre whose attributes weren’t great but, after what happened when Eva Carniero was dismissed at Chelsea, I decided to keep her around.

The final order of business before, y’know, winning the football, was to pick some players for our pre-season tour. Apparently the lads (and Victoria) are off to Singapore. Shame it isn’t Thailand – we all know what happened when Leicester City went there…

There was a friendly match against Bournemouth under-23s the next day. With the fans already against his appointment, it was important Henry bagged an early win for morale. Plus, it’s just embarrassing losing to the kids (just ask Aston Villa). A winning tactic was a must.

Having read Shoot magazine from a young age, Henry knows his tactics. His hipster tendencies made him desperate to play with an Enganche, Regista or inverted wing-backs but for now he only had the players for a solid 4-2-3-1. He wasn’t about to rock the boat just yet.

With possession football the aim, it was decided ‘Shorter Passing’, ‘Retain Possession’ and ‘Work Ball Into Box’ would be the way to go in terms of team instructions. It was time to see how this would work in practice however.

Football Manager Bournemouth tactic

The answer was pretty well. Bournemouth passed the ball around pretty well and kept the under-23s at bay with ease. It took Callum Wilson only four minutes to score from a Jordan Ibe cross. The crowd went wild as Henry looked on indifferently with folded arms.

Just under 20 minutes later and it was 2-0. Captain Steve Cook (not to be mistaken for Captain James Cook, the explorer) headed in from Jack Wilshere’s cross. It looked like the floodgates were about to open.

But open they did not, as Bournemouth under-23s firmed up their defence. I wouldn’t go as far to say completely solid – more like a dam built from chewed wood than the kind of wall Donald Trump probably thinks about before he goes to sleep.

In the end Simon Francis put the gloss on the win as he headed home from Junior Stanislas Baratheon’s corner. The Cherries ran out 3-0 winners and although they only managed 50% possession (the board will have a fit when OptaJoe tells them that), nobody got injured and it was a good performance overall.

Football Manager Bournemouth game

All in all, it was a good start for Henry. Things were looking better for him than Eddie Howe, anyway. Jose Antonio Camacho – who apparently last managed China in 2013 – somehow got the England manager’s job as Howe was overlooked again.

Sorry, Eddie.

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Football Manager 2017 #1: Henry McHipster pops his Cherry

Football Manager 2017 #1: Henry McHipster pops his Cherry

Football Manager 2017: Bournemouth Episode 1

Another year, another edition of Football Manager.

Every twelve months I tell myself I won’t play it because I’ll be busy and don’t want to spend all my time indoors on my laptop; every year I realise it gets cold in winter, my friends are all busy and I’m spending all my time indoors on my laptop.

This time I thought I’d get ahead of the curve and pre-purchase it, meaning I got to play the Beta edition of the game. How exciting!

Why blog about Football Manager?

Usually when I start a game on FM, I spend a good hour picking a team that speaks to me, then another six to eight hours fiddling with sliders and sacking staff members and youth players alike, ruining their hopes and dreams. Then I get bored and do the same thing somewhere else without even playing a match.

I was determined to find a way to keep myself invested, so I decided to do what anyone with too much free time, a laptop and a misplaced sense that people want to read about them playing a video game would do – blog it!

With that in mind, I jumped straight in.

Football Manager Premier League

Who to manage in Football Manager

The first big decision I’d have to make was which team was going to ruin. This is usually one of the toughest parts of the game for me as I’m not only indecisive, but have commitment issues even when it comes to a video game. West Brom? Too tall. Chelsea? A bit racist. Sunderland? Didn’t Adam Johnson play for them?

I decided early on I didn’t want to manage a national team, even though the England job is available. There would be way too much pressure to get those overpaid prima donnas to kick the ball right, and The Telegraph would be all over my shady dealings. I didn’t want to end up on the front page for letting Wayne Rooney start up front in exchange for two pints and a Gregg’s sausage roll.

In the end, I opted for plucky Bournemouth. Mainly because it might mean Eddie Howe – the saviour of English football – gets the England job, but also because the Cherries were a breath of fresh air in the Premier League. They were also only promoted a year ago and therefore probably wouldn’t expect me to win the league immediately. I could even imagine I had a nice house in Sandbanks. With a yacht. Maybe even a butler.

Who will be my Football Manager?

The next thing I had to do was create my alias. One thing I noticed immediately was that this year managers seem to look almost like functioning members of society rather than a model made from plasticine by children that had been left in the sun. There was also an option to put glasses and a trimmed beard on them, meaning only one thing.

My manager was going to be “hipster AF”.

Football Manager Created Manager

After dressing him as close to an Urban Outfitters mannequin as I could (this will be all over the high street next year, trust me) I started filling in his personal details.

Football Manager Henry McHipster

I decided to name him Henry McHipster – perhaps it might get into LADbible or something that way – and that he would have to hail from London. Maybe Shoreditch or Hackney – he could even listen to vintage vinyl between games.

Then I had to pick my favourite team. Obviously for me this would be my local team Leicester (again, up the Foxes), but after their title success and Jamie Vardy’s book deal and film, they’re waaaaay too mainstream now.

Instead I opted for Hamburg St Pauli. They’re German, they’re not in the top division (they’re not even the biggest team in Hamburg) and they have a strong affiliation with left-wing politics – perfect for Guardian-reader Henry.

The rest I left undecided; I have no idea what formation I’ll play and even though the game allows you connect to social media, I doubt people would want Facebook and Twitter updates telling them I was playing FM and eating doritos.

So I click ‘play game’ and get a message confirming the news.

Football Manager Bournemouth

Henry McHipster has popped his cherry.

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